Although they might be taken for granted in first-world countries, shoes are an essential part of daily attire. They can protect people from diseases and keep feet secure in cold or hot weather.
With shoes being a commodity many cannot afford in some areas of the world, one area student is helping those in impoverished countries obtain them.
Elyssa Hawkins, a LaRue County High School senior, is hosting a shoe drive for Soles4Souls. It is a Nashville-based charity that collects new and used shoes and gives them to businesses in the impoverished community who end up selling the shoes to their communities.
The business model enables impoverished entrepreneurs to make money and provides shoes to those who may otherwise not be able to afford them.
“It’s a really good idea,” Hawkins said.
Shoes are being collected at Hodgenville United Methodist Church and LaRue County High, LaRue County Middle, and Abraham Lincoln and Hodgenville elementary schools. The drive started Jan. 20 and ends Sunday. Once the drive ends, Designer Shoe Warehouse in Louisville then will ship the shoes to Soles4Souls in Nashville.
This is not Hawkins’ first experience with charitable causes. She has participated in Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a fundraiser for childhood cancer, and volunteers at food pantries.
Hawkins said causes such as Soles4Souls can help people survive and make others happy.
“And when people are happy, I get happy,” she said.
Hawkins said her goal is to reach 100 pairs of shoes.
Bill Hawkins, Elyssa’s father, described her daughter as shy and was proud of her for putting herself in situations where she has to interact with the public during her service projects.
“As a dad, I appreciate that she is willing to push herself,” he said.